European low-fare carrier easyJet has announced a one third increase in capacity to and from Rome Fiumicino airport as part of an expanded summer 2014 flight schedule in Italy. The announcement further demonstrates easyJet's commitment to the Italian market and follows the launch of a new easyJet base in Naples (easyJet's third base in Italy) from March 2014, the recent 35 per cent expansion of services to and from Catania and the breaking of the Alitalia monopoly on the important Linate - Fiumicino route.
easyJet opened its base at Rome Fiumicino in 2009 but had been serving the facility since the end of the previous year when it introduced international flights to the Italian capital from London Gatwick and domestic services from Brindisi, Milan and Palermo. This month it is offering flights to 17 destinations with its six based aircraft, but during the summer peak its network can expand to offer 25 destinations.
From spring 2014 it will be adding a number of new routes from Rome Fiumicino including Prague, Nantes, Menorca (Mahon) and Rhodes and adding extra flights to and from a number of destinations. In addition it will increase services on many existing routes including five more weekly services on the London Gatwick route, up to twice daily summer flights to Athens, while extra services will be added to popular destinations such as Crete (Heraklion), Palma and Mykonos.
"This announcement demonstrates our commitment to this key market. Over 13.5 million passengers flew with us to, from and within Italy last year and today's news means that we will be providing more Italians with our friendly service, low fares and the best network of flights across Europe,” said Carolyn McCall, chief executive officer, easyJet.
According to schedule data from OAG Analyser, easyJet had a 7.6 per cent share of this year’s total capacity from Rome Fiumicino. This positioned the carrier as the second largest user, but a long way behind the largest carrier, Alitalia, which held a 45.0 per cent share of the capacity. easyJet’s share of capacity has been on the rise in Rome since it opened its base at Fiumicino. In the last year its capacity has risen 3.8 per cent and its share of departures 0.7 percentage points.
"easyJet will expand its capacity to and from Fiumicino by a third in 2014,” said Frances Ouseley, Country Director for Italy at easyJet. “These expansion plans will see easyJet carry more than 4 million passengers a year to and from Italy's capital.”
Elsewhere in Italy, from Spring 2014, easyJet will start a brand new route from Milan Malpensa to Tel Aviv in Israel. This latest route is the third to Tel Aviv since the signing of a historic Open Skies agreement between the EU and Israel. Across Europe the airline already currently serves Tel Aviv from Basel, Geneva, London Luton, Manchester and Rome Fiumicino and is also adding services from Berlin and London Gatwick.
easyJet will offer a four times weekly schedule on the Milan Malpensa – Tel Aviv route from March 2014. It will compete directly with El Al and meridianafly; the former has served the market continuously for the past ten years, which the latter has flown between the destinations since April 2010 when flag carrier Alitalia ended its own operations.
"easyJet is a long term committed partner of the Israeli economy and tourism industry,” said Hugh Aitken, UK Commercial Manager, easyJet. "We are pleased and proud to make Europe more accessible to Israeli business and leisure passengers with an eighth direct flight to Tel Aviv. We are confident that this new route will become as popular as the other flights we successfully operate to and from Israel."
According to MIDT data, an estimated 170,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew on the route in 2012, up 7.1 per cent on the previous year. It is interesting to note that our analysis also shows that average air fares on the route increased 12.7 per cent between the two years.
easyJet is the largest airline at Milan Malpensa, Venice and Naples and the second largest at Rome Fiumicino and Olbia. It has expanded its capacity in Italy by six per cent in the last year serving 17 Italian airports and providing 14 domestic and 133 routes across Europe to 20 countries with a total of 25 aircraft based in Italy.